How to Convince Your Parents to Let You Study What You Want
Can’t seem to get your parents to agree to let you study what you want? Here are 5 steps to change their minds.
Updated 29 Jul 2019
Many of you may have tussled with your parents over what you should study in university.
You say jewellery design, they say accounting. You want psychology, they come back with medicine. You scream film production, they insist on engineering.
On the one hand, you want to pursue something that leads to your dream career. On the other, you have a profound respect for your parents, not to mention that they can be relentless, insisting that you opt for a degree that guarantees job security.
So who's right?
While it’s not uncommon to come across this situation with your parents, convincing them to allow you to pursue what you want can be a challenge. But if you dread talking to your parents about studying what you like, or if you have trouble trying to get them over the line, don’t worry, because here are some tips to help you change their mind.
#1. Know your stuff
If what you intend to pursue doesn’t align well with what your parents have in mind for you, chances are you’re going to receive plenty of stick in the forms of “no”, “why” and “no” again.
So, it’s imperative that you understand the nuts and bolts of your course.
The subjects you’ll study, the career prospects of the course and the types of financial aid available – these are just some of the many questions that you’ll need to know the answer to. Enlist the help of your trusty friend, Mr. Google to help with your research and devour everything you need to know about the course.
When you’re well prepared, it’s easier for you to predict what sort of questions will your parents ask and that boosts your confidence level (which is crucial). Preparation also shows that you are keen and committed, and there’s no better gratification to a parent than watching their child pour their hundred percent into something.
#2. Prepare your counterarguments
Sceptical parents are bound to throw questions like these:
“Will you be able to get a job with this degree?”
“Are you sure this course is suitable for you?”
“This course is so expensive. It's not going to be a good return on investment.”
It's important to anticipate the thunderstorm of questions and prepare for them as part of your extensive research. Think of all the reasons why you shouldn't pursue this course and address them one by one.
While it's important to make your points clear, it's also crucial to engage in a healthy debate and not be overly assertive or defensive.
If you play your cards right, you can get them to (grudgingly) agree, perhaps even letting you study something that's incredulous as Turfgrass Science!
#3. Come up with creative ways to pitch your argument
After assembling all the information you need, the next step is communicating your message.
Going “Mum, dad, I want to pursue a career in Anthropology” isn’t going to cut it, especially if your parents happen to have a different vision in mind of what you should pursue. Nothing prompts a swift “no” faster than a dry, flimsy and half-hearted attempt.
You will need more effective methods in order to get them completely on board.
A PowerPoint presentation with bar charts, statistical numbers and interesting facts are all welcoming information to aid your argument and elevate your points. Make it entertaining, informative and fun. Top it up with a touch of witty charm and your parents will say “yes” faster than an elephant sliding downhill on an icy slope.
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#4. Show them your enthusiasm
It’s understandable that your parents may have their own practical reasons behind their decision. Sometimes, it could be for financial reasons, but most of the time, it’s down to whether or not they can relate to your enthusiasm and dedication.
So, one effective way of getting your parents to give their blessing is simply to show what it really means to you. In other words, show them the passion you have for the course!
Want to study Video Games Development? Show them a brief demo of your favourite game to illustrate how complex and engaging the medium has become (and not the stigma that’s often associated with video games). Explain to them that it’s a growing industry that offers plenty of opportunities, and emphasise what it means to you if you’re part of the development team that designs, codes or writes the game.
It’s hard for your parents to object you after seeing so much enthusiasm and passion.
#5. Choose a course that’s close
No, we don’t mean location-wise. If your parents show no signs of budging even after you've thrown everything but the kitchen sink, one alternative is to choose a course that’s similar.
For instance, if you really want to take a course in Video Games Development but can't get your parents to agree, another course you can consider is Computer Science or Electrical Engineering. Not only are they relatively similar (both will involve lots of programming), but there's also a higher chance for your parents to give you a thumbs up.
It can be hard to convince your parents to let you study what you want, but in order for them to give their consent, it’s vital that you communicate your message clearly so that they understand where you're coming from.
But remember, communication works both ways, so listening to their opinion is also key to working things out. If you can match your enthusiasm with hard facts, or surprise them with things that they didn’t know, it’s easy for your parents to give their full support and let you pursue your dream!